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Biological Surveys and Assessment Program


Paul Marcum and Dave Ketzner: Natural Area Management and Outreach


Natural area management and outreach activities are carried out by several members of the Illinois Natural History Survey Wetland Science Program. A wide range of programs and activities have been conducted to further the mission of the INHS, "to investigate the diversity, life histories, and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results so that those resources can be managed wisely; and to provide information to the public in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage". These activities are often conducted in cooperation with many partner agencies (e.g. University of Illinois, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Grand Prairie Friends [GPF], Illinois Native Plant Society [INPS], as well as various County Forest Preserves and Park Districts).


invasive species work day

Invasive species removal workday at Nance Woods, near Neoga, Shelby County, Illinois.


Numerous talks and workshops dealing with plant identification and wetland and natural areas management have been conducted throughout the state. Dave Ketzner, botanist with the Wetland Science Program, has offered a grass identification workshop for GPF interns annually for many years. Likewise, Paul Marcum has led sedge (genus Carex) identification workshops for local GPF, INPS, and other groups. In addition, Mary Ann Feist has led workshops on vegetation monitoring for both GPF and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie volunteers.






Management recommendations are often solicited by partner agencies on important natural areas and restoration sites. In order to make such recommendations Wetland Science Program botanists (Paul Marcum, Mary Ann Feist, and Dan Busemeyer) have conducted floristic inventories and quantitative vegetation sampling at a number of State Natural Areas including Gooseberry Island Nature Preserve, Dean Hills Nature Preserve, and Iroquois Woods Nature Preserve. Wetland Science Program scientists have offered assistance and leadership in conducting natural areas management activities. Many members of the group have prescribed burn training and have participated as burn crew members, burn crew bosses, and as prescribed burn coordinators for local or regional groups. Others have been involved with specific sites as Site Stewards, those responsible for the annual direct care and management of our local natural treasures.


prescribed burn

Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Iroquois County, Illinois. Prescribed fire conducted by members of the Wetland Science Program in association with a local conservation group, Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois.